Margaret Creighton: Historian Teaches "Red Sox Nation"

If the Red Sox win the World Series again, fans may have a kind of identity crisis, Bates College American culture and history professor Margaret Creighton said Wednesday.

So much of who the fans are - virtuous, stubborn loyalists even when their allegiance went unrewarded - is defined by decades of not winning.

"It's really quite jarring for Red Sox fans now to have to deal with success, and it might be repeated," said Creighton. "Once could be a fluke, getting rid of the curse ... But twice? This is very challenging and, to a degree, upsetting."

A fan herself, the Bates professor taught "Red Sox Nation" in 2005, a course examining the culture and history of the team and fans. She plans to offer it again next year.

Decades of losing forged Boston fans to regard themselves as the underdog. Fans think, "We may be scruffy, we may look like ruffians, but we're scrappy and we fight and work hard," Creighton said.

Even with 2004's win, Red Sox Nation citizens are still fundamentally pessimistic, she said. "When the Red Sox were down 3-1 against Cleveland, it felt very familiar, almost a little comfortable, because this is where we've been."

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